These were not intended to be blondies. Not even sort-of. The original intention was to make salted caramel ice cream fudge bars – not like ice cream bars, totally fridge stable and more like regular fudge, but with a base made of one of my more favourite-iest vegan ice creams (the So Delicious Salted Caramel flavour – and no one’s paying me to say that). There are so so many bad vegan ice creams….ahem…sorry, vegan “frozen desserts” – wouldn’t want someone suing me for false advertising there – but we all know what I’m saying. I am a huge believer in having things/ eating things because they taste amazing (I know, what a weirdo right? 😉 ). Just because you made something vegan that’s supposed to be a stand in for its dairy based counterpart, does not mean that I will eat it. It still needs to taste amazing in its own right.
The rice milk based ones seem to lack creaminess and have a weird grainy texture that I find completely unenjoyable. The almond milk ones aren’t as grainy, but again, they end up tasting more like some sort of weird hybrid of ice milk and ice cream (i.e. they just don’t get that required smooth creaminess). The coconut milk based ones hit the mark way way more. However, my absolute favourite in terms of taste and texture is the So Delicious cashew milk based line. I think it’s because it’s truly the first time since becoming vegan that I’ve had a non-dairy vanilla “ice cream” that tasted like vanilla ice cream. I know it likely makes me boring, but some of my favourite flavours of ice cream were strawberry and vanilla. The problem with vanilla in vegan “ice cream” is always that it never tastes right because it’s such a subtle flavour that whatever was being used as the base always overpowered any hint of vanilla flavour. Almond milk vanilla “ice cream”? Aka almond milk flavoured ice cream. Coconut milk vanilla “ice cream”? It really just tastes like coconut ice cream. Although this is still incredibly delicious in my opinion, that feels like even more of a false advertisement than the claim that Nutella is good for you and part of a healthy breakfast.
Despite my little side rant about finally having my hallelujah moment and finding the perfect vanilla vegan “ice cream”, I had opted in this particular instance, to use the salted caramel cashew milk “ice cream” (forget it, I’m giving up on using quotes from this moment on. Deal with it. it’s just too much extra punctuation and I’m too lazy 😉 ). This was mostly because…well, do we need a reason? It’s salted caramel ice cream based fudge. ‘Nuff said. Anywhoodle, I opted to melt a container of said ice cream, combine it with a little vegan butter and some of my rum soaked fruit, and, as a stabilizing element, food process an entire bag of golden Oreos (because salted caramel ice cream on its own was clearly way too healthy for you 😉 ). Full disclosure – I used double stuf Oreos. Side note: I’m not really sure why Oreos need to use only one “f” in their double stuf cookies. Is “stuff” too much of a proprietary word? Is “stuffed” just too long to say? Or are they implying that your mouth is so full of cookie at this point that you just can’t say anything longer? It seems like since your doubling your filling, using a word with 2 f’s would actually be more appropriate. But what do I know? They must know what they’re doing since Oreos are not exactly hurting financially, so I’ll try not to be too insulted that they’re not taking my advice 😉 .
What could’ve possibly gone wrong you say? They never setup properly. After 4 hours in the fridge, they were still super soft. After 12 hours in the freezer, they were still “soft-ish” 🙁 . After much sobbing, gnashing of teeth and general boo-hooing, I wrestled with myself about just tossing the whole lot. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it though. I mean, they still tasted good, but you basically needed to eat it with a spoon. Plus, I’d be wasting an entire container of salted caramel ice cream and an entire box of double stuf Oreos. If that’s not a punishment worthy of death, I don’t know what is. So, to save myself from the inevitable guillotine in the court of my own mind’s making, I had the brilliant idea of returning this to its more liquacious form (i.e. microwaving it to a pourable state), adding some flour and tossing on a crumble topping, saying ten Hail Mary’s and hoping for the best. Did this work? It wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping, but that’s honestly just because I overbaked them slightly so they ended up a bit drier than I like (and as I mentioned previously in my coffee cake post, I’m a super snob about how moist I think cakes should be. Kevin thought they were perfectly fine and delicious – but what does he know? 😉 ). Taste-wise though, it’s flour and crumble for the win!
I’m currently in the process of printing up my new business cards “Amber Trudeau – Dessert Salvager. Turning baking failures to baking favourites since 2016” 😉 .
Yield: 16 bars
- 1 container So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Milk Ice Cream
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon cacao butter (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon maple extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups (or 1 package) of finely ground golden Oreos (pulsed in a food processor)
- ½ cup rum soaked dried fruit (or just dried fruit of your choice – I used mostly raisins and cranberries)
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk powder
- 3/4 cups pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Lightly grease an 8×8 glass dish and preheat oven to 325F.
- Place the ice cream, vegan butter, cacao butter (if using) maple and vanilla extracts and salt into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Allow everything to fully melt, bringing the liquid to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, whisking periodically, for about 10 minutes.
- Add in the cookie crumbs, dried fruit and non-dairy milk powder, stirring everything together until fully mixed. Sift in flour, baking soda and baking powder.
- Transfer to your prepared pan and spread the mixture out into a smooth, even layer.
- Now you can make your crumble topping – combine all your topping ingredients (flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, butter, instant coffee and cinnamon), and mix together until it forms a crumble consistency.
- Sprinkle crumble over the top of your “ice cream” bars.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Since I slightly overbaked these, I recommend removing them from the oven when they’re still slightly underbaked seeming (so a toothpick inserted in the center would come out mostly clean, but maybe still has some crumbs clinging to it).
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.